Responses to Good News statement about untenableness

Tom Lambrecht

Tom Lambrecht

Judging from the social media firestorm, there was lots of interest over the last several days in the statement from the Good News board of directors and staff that the current situation within United Methodism is untenable. In the midst of the discussion, it is worth clarifying that Good News did not issue a call for redirecting apportionments, nor did Good News call for a separate denomination. Make no mistake about it, apportionment redirection and amicable separation are the hottest of topics when it comes to discussions of United Methodism’s future.

The Rev. Thomas Lambrecht, vice president and general manager of Good News, told United Methodist News Service the group released the statement because its leaders “want the United Methodist leadership to understand how deep the crisis is at the moment.” He added that the group also wants to reassure those who support the denomination’s teachings on homosexuality “that we are doing all we can to help the church stay faithful to that.”

Greater Northwest Area Bishop Grant Hagiya has previously written about what he sees as “A Way Forward,” despite the church’s deep divisions regarding how best to minister with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. He expressed disappointment in the Good News statement.

“As I look at the Scriptures, there were hundreds of untenable situations that humans put themselves in, and yet the Triune God was able to steer a path which reconciled and allowed grace and forgiveness to reign supreme,” the bishop told UMNS.  “I refuse to believe that any human context is untenable … unless God declares it so.”

To read Heather Hahn’s entire article for United Methodist News Service, click HERE.

Lambrecht also did an interview with The United Methodist Reporter in order to explain the rationale behind the Good News statement.

To read that interview, click HERE.

Comments

  1. It’s a shame that these people can’t be converted, but their actions clearly indicate that being a Methodist is just not attractive to them. An amicable separation would be best. It would free both groups to pursue something more productive.

  2. With as much respect as is possible, I must restrain my laughter. The UM bishops cannot be allowed to abrogate their holy vocational responsibilities in this matter, while occasionally sending out one of their own to feign misuse and outrage. As of now, the vast majority of comment and thought and is percolating from the laity and concerned clergy; the sounds of silence emanating from UM bishops is deafening. IF the sole way to preserve the UM church is to insist that homosexually be accepted into all levels of church life and that the church discipline be amended to be inclusive of this change, the price is much too great and the church needs to split. Better to split and remain true to God’s word, than to embrace another capitulation to modernism. My goodness…how long can the church allow its’ leadership to elevate their compromise and confusion above God’s word. We are grieving the Lord!

  3. After reading the article and the Heather Hahn interview I think we should all listen to Bishop Scott Jones rather than Bishop Hagiya. Bishop Jones says lets keep the main thing (making disciples for Jesus Christ) the main thing. All else is inconsequential. The problem is a number of our seminaries have professors of evangelism that could not develop an effective plan of evangelism and discipleship for a local church if their life depended on it. Candidates for ordination as elder in some conferences are effectively retrained by the conference Board of Ordained Ministry after completing an M. Div. because the seminaries are so focused on academics to the exclusion of practical ministry skills and developing personal spirituality. Division is inevitable!!

  4. From where I sit, I see a big problem looming. That’s how the large group of UMC members sitting in the pews who are generally unaware of the controversies embroiling the UMC (aside from a few cases that make the secular news) will react to any suggestion of changing the denomination.

    I would guesstimate (based on my very limited view) that we are talking about around 70% of our laity who participate only in local church activities and have no interest in or awareness of what’s happening within the larger connection or the details of the Book of Discipline. This large group in general follows the bell curve between conservative and progressive theologies and a uniform distribution between total commitment to no commitment to the UMC or the local congregation. Then there are maybe 15% thoroughly commited to a conservative Biblical stance, and another 15% just as thoroughly commited to a progressive view.

    This is going to make for very interesting days ahead. My prayers are with you as you navigate the path forward.

  5. The Rev. R. David Reynolds ("Pastor Dave") says

    I retired from active ministry in the IGRC UMC in June 2012 with 41 years of active service since the time of my ordination as a deacon and Probationary Membership in the former Southern Illinois Conference at the close of my junior year at Asbury Theological Seminary. I have been supporting Good News all the way on this untenable situation since the Atlanta General Conference at the end of my middler year in 1972. I am TIRED of this fight every quadrennium in the UMC and how it has mushroomed and exploded these recent months. I TOTALLY agree Skipper’s previous statement, but I want to take it a step further. It is TIME NOW for that amicable separation. God will bless a strong evangelical, Biblical denomination of former United Methodists who stand true and faithful to His HOLY WORD as has been the case in point with those who left the Episcopal Church USA with the blessing of Godly Anglican Bishops from Africa supporting the clergy and congregations, but He never will bless those who continue to defy the clear teaching of Scripture from Genes 1 through Revelation 22. I am ready to become part of that amicable separation, and I sincerely hope and pray Good News, The Confessing Movement, and Transforming Congregations will lead us in that direction.

    • theenemyhatesclarity says

      I am ready, too, Pastor Dave. And that is my prayer as well.

      In Christ,

      The enemy hates clarity

    • I agree, Pastor Dave. I am sick and tired of this issue. It is not going to be resolved with any sort of compromise. The issue itself doesn’t allow for a compromise position. And let’s be honest, the UMC body holds a lot of positions that are purely political and not Biblically based–the church should hold no positions on some issues (gun control, immigration reform, universal healthcare) and should heed God’s word revealed through scripture in others (gay issues, abortion, etc.). I think there are a lot of folks in the pews that would like to just focus on Jesus Christ and the Bible and divorce ourselves from non-Biblical policy positions.

      • Chris, M. div says

        The Gospel has implications in regard to all the items you mentioned as policy issues. To claim that it doesn’t is to claim that the word of God has no bearing on modern issues, which you obviously don’t believe, since you think that the word of God has a bearing on abortion and homosexuality (both clearly modern issues). You can’t pick and choose. God has something to say about every aspect of our lives, and if you don’t think so, you don’t belong in the UMC and would be better suited in a tradition that is Bible-only and has no room for theology/a quadrilateral.

  6. Thank You Tom Lambrecht for the Board of Directors statement and your interview with The United Methodist Reporter. Your points were well made.

    The U.M.C. is in a Chess match between the entrenched leadership in key places and a lot of pawns. The game so far is at a stalemate. Both sides are fearful of making another move. There are property, financial, retirement, and other considerations to be made. The stalemate is also at a status quo vs. leadership to a new outcome. The church pawns are leaving the main body of the church by the amount of approx. 100 average sized churches a year. Again, and we have the time, to initiate a workable Resolution to present to the next General Conference to rectify our stalemate and disagreement. A representative of each major Renewal organization should convene together to draw up a strategy plan. Clergy, Laity, and Advisors chosen by the representatives should be consulted and started very soon to do this. Once a strategy is formulated then the stalemate can begin to follow a logical path to a solution. The strategy plan should be completed in enough time before the GC 2016 so it can be reviewed a few months prior to the GC and a unified presentable Resollution drawn up. The remaining question is, Who will step up to face and lead this challenging issue?

  7. Chris Ellis says

    Money should have been withheld years ago. It is time to get on the ball and take a stand of more than words.

  8. If Jesus had lifted the law of his religious foundations higher than his spirit of love, there would have been no healing on the Sabbath, no feeding of the hungry on the Sabbath and countless other nonsensical portions of his religious laws.

    If Christians believed the word of God word for word, there would be many with plucked out eyes, cut off tongues, and cut off limbs.

    When are all of us going to learn that love one another as God has loved us is the greatest commandment?

    Bill;

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